The idea of using a referendum to determine the future of the Marysville Benchlands is being floated by a Kimberley City Councillor.
Bev Middlebrook is suggesting the divisive issue could be solved by posing a question to the local electorate.
Controversy has arisen in the community as residents grabble with the thought of new commercial development versus preserving green space and beautiful sightlines.
Some residents are against the 24 acre lot, which is currently used for recreation, being developed for light industry, as a Calgary-based advanced technology company has come forward expressing interest in it.
The proponents were born and raised in Kimberley and say they want to bring their business home, but claim it’s the only available real estate.
Much of the land surrounding the community is owned by Teck and either not considered for sale or contaminated.
City Council could soon designate the area for light industrial when they begin drawing up in their Official Community Plan.
Middlebrook, who is a Marysville resident and leading the opposition, says Council has received in excess of 20 letters from residents all around the community about proposed development on the Benchlands.
She suggests the number of letters is a lot for Council.
Several grassroots public forums have been held for residents to discuss the proponent’s plan and what industrial development looks like in Kimberley.
As Council is getting ready to finalize their OCP, Middlebrook admits it’ll be sometime before anything happens and suggests a referendum could coincide with next year’s municipal election.
She adds staff have been directed to look into the criteria and potential costs of an added question to next’s ballot or an entirely separate vote.
– Kimberley City Councillor Bev Middlebrook